Monday 22 June 2015

Higher PIP percentages is NOT a good thing

The latest government spin machine is in action, trying to make us think that PIP is much better than DLA at supporting disabled people.
This seems hard to believe when we know that it was introduced with an original aim of reducing expenditure by 20% (pdf) and 500,000 fewer disabled people would be eligible for the new benefit. By January 2013 this was revised to 27% savings and a 28% decrease in the caseload (same pdf), ie 607,000 fewer eligible disabled people by May 2018.

So how is the government doing it without lying?

Well in response to this article which claims that at least 450 carers in Scotland will lose £3000 due to the change, the DWP says:
“The fact is a higher proportion of Personal Independence Payments claimants receive the highest rate, so entitling their carer to Carer’s Allowance, than the proportion of Disability Living Allowance claimants who do.”
Similarly, during the course of today's welfare debate, the DWP twitter account posted the following:
Wow! Sounds great! Why are we complaining?!

Well no. It isn't quite so great. This is for the most part a direct consequence of the fact that they have made the qualifying criteria much harsher and far fewer people will qualify. But they manage to make it sound like a good thing. I applaud their ingenuity!

For instance the number of people projected to receive the highest rates of PIP is pretty much unchanged by May 2018 compared to if we had retained DLA.
357,000 will receive the highest rates of PIP compared to 354,000 on DLA.
The reason the ratios are so different is that the total caseload is different and will drop dramatically under PIP.
Only an estimated 1,575,000 claimants will qualify for PIP whereas 2,182,000 would have qualified for DLA.
Hence the DWP's proud statement that under PIP 22% will receive the highest levels of support as opposed to 16% under DLA.
This is absolutely true. However the only reason it is, is that over 600,000 disabled people will have lost their benefit! This is hardly something to be pleased about!

Very clever spin. I take my hat off to you DWP...

P.S. The statement is also not true when it comes to mobility, almost certainly due to the harshness of the "20 metre rule". In fact not only does the total number of claimants go down significantly, but the proportion goes down slightly as well.

602,000 disabled people are expected to qualify for enhanced mobility under PIP.
A full 1,030,000 would have qualified for high rate mobility under DLA.
In this case, the statement that a higher proportion receive enhanced rate is false.
An estimated 48.7% of mobility claimants will receive the higher rate under PIP, compared to 52.6% under DLA.
It should also be noted that 21.6% of the total PIP caseload is ineligible for any mobility support whatsoever, as opposed to just 10.2% under DLA.


  1. Also not true that the proportion getting enhanced is anything to do with CA - any award of the Daily Living component is sufficient for CA.

    1. Indeed. A good point in this particular case!
      I have seen them trot out this line before though whenever PIP is questioned.
      Talking about proportions is really totally irrelevant. If they decided to award PIP to just one single person in the UK at enhanced rate, thus at 100% proportion, it wouldn't exactly be an improvement for disabled people as a whole.
      This whole ploy is just a way to make it sound better and avoid talking about the huge numbers being stripped of their benefits. The irony is that the whole reason the ratio is better IS that disabled people are losing their benefits!